Rachel Sokolowski (violin) started her musical education in Bury St Edmunds before studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where her teachers were Jack Glickman and Nannie Jamieson. She remained in London, teaching and performing, before returning to Bury a few years ago. She now plays in a number of local orchestras and chamber groups, including the Churchgate Sinfonia, the Tallis Chamber Orchestra, the Prometheus Orchestra, the Linnet Ensemble and the Sokolowski Trio, and recently performed the Elgar Violin sonata for the Elgar Society with Christopher Moore. She is also busy as a teacher locally.
Jan Halen (violin) was educated at the Royal Northern College of Music in classical violin performance. Jan has performed at numerous festivals as well as in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and venues across Europe. Jan is also a member of the Beech Duo, which in summer 2018 completed a tour of France and Italy. Jan has had the opportunity for perform as support for world-class musicians such as John Williams and electronic music duo Coldcut on loopstation and violin. Jan has also recorded for BBC radio and features on a variety of recorded releases. As well as an honours degree in violin performance, Jan holds the Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music for violin performance. She also has a career in teaching and has held the position of Head of Strings at several independent schools.
Jessamy Skrimshire (viola) began playing the violin, viola and piano from an early age and, at the age of eight went to the Yehudi Menuhin School where she studied with many distinguished musicians including Simon Rowland-Jones, Wen-Zhou Li, Sidney Griller and Lord Menuhin. She continued her studies, accepting a full scholarship to the Royal College of Music. She has travelled the world both as a soloist and chamber musician and has played at major concert venues throughout Europe, including the Wigmore Hall, the Purcell Room, QEH and Royal Festival Hall. As a founding member of the Hogarth String Quartet, Jessamy was a prizewinner at the Charles Hennen Quartet competition, won the South East Arts award, collaborated with the Emerson Quartet and has recorded regularly for the BBC and Classic FM. Jessamy enjoys teaching at her home in Bury St Edmunds.
Janet Banks (cello) won a music scholarship to St Hugh’s College, Oxford, where she studied under musicologist Jane Glover and cellist Colin Carr. She spent many years as a music journalist on The Musical Times, BBC Music Magazine and The Strad, for whom she still works as a reviewer. Janet has performed at the Purcell Room and Barbican Centre and given solo cello recitals in Chelmsford and Brentwood Cathedrals and Lion Walk Church, Colchester, and was a member of the Coggeshall Baroque Trio for seven years. She now plays with the Lavenham Sinfonia, the Churchgate Sinfonia, the Linnet Ensemble and the Sokolowski Trio, as well as singing with the St Edmundsbury Singers at St Edmundsbury Cathedral. Janet teaches the cello privately and in local schools.